Posts Tagged ‘John The Baptist’

River of Transition

“Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” (2 Kings 2:8-10)

When Elijah and his successor, Elisha came to the River Jordan they were at the “River of Transition”. A change was about to take place. The Mantle of prophetic anointing is about to be shifted from the elder to the younger. How will this take place? By the careful and deliberate choice of Elijah! Notice here that the sons of the prophets were left on the other side of the River – they will have no say in the transfer of the Mantle. The transfer will occur at a place of God’s choosing and not man’s.

Asking for Double!

In seasons of transition, there are opportunities for increase! For eight long years Elisha had followed Elijah faithfully, and finally the Man of God asks Elisha what he wanted from their relationship. Elisha was bold, because he understood the value of transition. He asked for a double portion of the Spirit that was upon Elijah. Elisha wanted the anointing and authority of the Holy Spirit… in fact, he was after double. It is important to state clearly that no man can give what he does not have. Therefore, it was impossible for Elijah to give double; but it was not impossible for Elisha to receive double according to his faith in God. His faith got him just what he asked for… a double portion. And the principle seems to have been true in Elisha, because we see recorded in Scripture double the miracles done by his hand than that of Elijah. When he received the mantle, the observant followers of Elijah recognized the anointing on Elisha’s life by saying, “The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha”. They saw and recognized the power of God upon the ministry of Elisha.

When you stand at the River of Transition… what do you ask for?

Jesus received His mantle at this same River!

Leaping forward… 2500 years or so. It may have been the will of God that this “mantle of anointing” to be passed from one generation to the next all the way from Moses to John the Baptist… and on to Jesus! I cannot help but believe that God was once more speaking in the river of transition. At the time of Jesus’ baptism, all righteousness was fulfilled and the Holy Spirit came as a dove and lit upon the Son of Man. The Father’s announcement is heard, “this is My Son in whom I love!” And from this very place a mantle was received and miracles began in Jesus’ ministry.

Today, Jesus is calling us to the River of Transition… Go after double!

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My Name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My Name, I will do it.” (Jn. 14:12-14)

Ministry of the Spirit

“This man (Apollos) had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:25-26)

Christian Accuracy:

This story is a powerful example of how Christian Truth must go beyond just getting the facts correct. The dedication of Apollos was wonderful and needed in Ephesus, yet for some reason it was ineffective at transforming the culture and calling the region into the Kingdom of God. He was eloquent in speech, fervent in delivery and fully committed to the information he had. But, there was something missing in his ministry, between what he knew and what he needed to know by experience. The text says Aquila and Priscilla explained some things to him that enabled him to become more accurate.

What He Knew:

Apollos’ ministry consisted exclusively from experiences received from a season in John the Baptist’s ministry. That is, he was preaching the Kingdom of Heaven and practicing water baptism for the same reason John had taught and preached it. Remember, John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Mk 1:4). It would seem very possible that anyone who had experienced such a powerful ministry would find it of value and want to pass it on as God’s message to the world.

What He Did Not Know:

Now, what was it Apollos did not know? Keep in mind that Aquila and Priscilla had served with the Apostle Paul and had learned some amazing things from experiencing the mantle of grace that rested upon Paul. They had a congregation of saints that met in their house and Paul had frequented that ministry often releasing his revelation and exposing the true nature of effective ministry. They had some marvelous opportunities to experience both the teaching of Truth and fellowship in the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts tells of how Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:9), spoke the Word of God with boldness and did ministry with powerful miraculous signs followed him everywhere he preached (Acts 14:3)(Acts 19:11).

The Substance Within:

The Apostle Paul carried an enormous anointing within his ministry and this is the substance that makes accurate Truth carry accurate manifestation. An effective Christian life is full of Truth and full of power. The ministry of the Holy Spirit releases us into effectiveness, because we are equipped with power from on High to live as God’s Children, clothed in the Father’s Glory and manifesting His power right where we live. We can walk as people of Truth only as we have the energy of Heaven flowing through us to allow the Truth to make an impact.

Power Flowing From Heaven:

The key to making accurate Truths more effective is the authority of the Holy Spirit who stands behind it. We must be thankful for God’s servants who are gifted and zealous in their ministries; but zeal and knowledge can be a dangerous thing if not accompanied by the work of the Holy Spirit. It has done great harm to the Church through the centuries to see a pattern of religious fervency carry no power to transform the culture (2 Tim 3:1-5). We must have a more accurate teaching of the Truth.

The Presence of the Holy Spirit:

Many today are still laboring under the Kingdom ministry of John the Baptist and have no clue of the more accurate ministry given by Jesus and expressed by the Apostle Paul (Acts 19:2). It was not a new message, but a more accurate message, accompanied by the Presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13-15).

Pathway for Glory

“The Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isa 40:5)

Kingdom People are designed to carry the Glory of God and release shifts in the atmosphere where peace is needed. Throughout the Bible we are commanded not to quarrel over words or be divisive. Our affections are to be set on the Holy Spirit, who is referred to as “Comforter”, “Counselor” or “Helper”. We must recognize that the work of the Holy Spirit needs a platform, a pathway to enter. The Holy Spirit must feel welcome if He is to stay active in a person’s life.

Preparing the Way:

In the verse above, we see the central goal of John the Baptist. His ministry was to be a voice crying in the wilderness, “prepare the way of the Lord”. People needed to examine their hearts and repent of their sinful ways, because the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. John was not looking for just any Kingdom or any King. The Lamb of God would be recognized by a very interesting symbol… the ”dove”. God had given a word to John that in His baptism, the Holy Spirit would come like a dove and land upon Him and stay. God was asking John to notice how Glory would come into the world through the peace of Christ. The Lamb of God would serve as an entry point for the “dove” and for Glory to be recognized. That is an important pathway… “a place for the dove to land”. It was the pathway for Glory (Heb 1:1-4).

Looking for Peace:

This is the picture God has shone us through Noah. When the rain had ended and the ark continued to float aimlessly, Noah begins to look for a resting place. Not just any resting place, but a place for a dove to stay. Even as he waited for land to appear; he could not be confident until the dove, having been released from his own hand, found a place to land and stay. Noah was not just looking for land, he was looking for an entry point. A new day was about to begin with a rainbow… and a promise that would promote life.

Kingdom People must look beyond meetings; we are looking for an open heaven, where the dove will have a place to rest… a place that will promote life.

Peace and Glory:

Its important to understand that God’s Glory is a weighty substance that rests in the atmosphere of God’s Peace! When Jesus sent out the 12 disciples He said, “freely you have received now freely give”, yet when they went into a community, they were to look for places to impart peace. If the household was worthy, they were to impart their peace into it, but if not then they were to wipe the dust off their feet and journey to the next house (Mt 10:8-14). Peace seemed to be an atmosphere that could be imparted at the will of the disciples based on how well the house embraced the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And it would be needed, if the ministry was to continue in that region.

Making Glory Visible and Recognizable:

What Jesus was saying is that we must be looking for places where the “dove” will be welcome. Places of peace provide rest for the soul, give access to God’s deliverance and freedom from the oppression of the devil. The dove is the Biblical symbol for Peace provided by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. This is still our urgent mission; not just to win a bunch of people to our point of view, but to bring an atmosphere that unlocks the revelation, that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Peace is Heaven’s influence. The pathway for the Glory of God is a significant point of entry, where God is welcome and the Holy Spirit makes habitation among us (Eph 2:19-22).

5 Disciplines to Welcome the Holy Spirit:
1. Humility: (1 Pet 5:5-7)
2. Praise and Worship: (Psalm 63)
3. Passionate Love: (Eph 3:17-19)
4. Entrance of God’s Word: (Neh 8:1-6)
5. Fellowship of Believers: (Mt 18:19-20)

Bring My Children Into Glory

“I will say to the north, Give them up! And to the south, Do not keep them back! Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth— Everyone who is called by My Name, whom I have created for My Glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”  (Isaiah 43:6-7)

We as God’s Children were made for His Glory! We were designed to enjoy His fellowship and advance in the knowledge of His heart for us. In the Scripture above, we can feel the passion of the Father calling His Children home. Its more than an invitation… its more like a declaration of war! As if God Himself is speaking to the spiritual forces of darkness and all human governing bodies saying, “The day of confinement is over! I am establishing an order of release and recovery!” Truly it amazes me to watch as God puts His foot down upon the neck of principalities and powers in the spiritual realm.

The Voice Itself:

Make no mistake; this voice is the prophetic voice of Isaiah, yet it is the passionate heart of the Father as well. Our perception of a prophetic voice is so important as we hear with the ears of faith. You see, it cannot become only a prophetic “suggestion” in our daily routine, because God is serious about recovering a people who know Him and are waiting for a pathway to be established in the wilderness. Remind yourself of how God found you in your sinful condition and called you to Himself. He did this because of His love for you… to bring you back into His Glory!

Our Assignment:

John the Baptist was not the only Messenger of the Lord who has been assigned the task of making a highway visible for the people of God to find His Glory (Isa. 40:1-5). Jesus said, “Go – into all the earth and make disciples” (Mt. 28:19). The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20). It is our assignment to bear witness and make available a pathway back to the Father’s heart! This thought of ”bringing them back” means we have a mandate from heaven to grab the hands of every person within reach and speak of God’s love for them. We have a task that requires our diligent understanding and our personal commitment!

4 Practical Principles:

  1. Be People of the Glory… You cannot bring people to where you have never been. Recognize your own chosenness and royalty in God’s Kingdom. You are a holy and special person, designed, formed and called out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Pe. 2:9-10). Being a person who understands the Glory of God cannot happen without your participation daily in prayer and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. You must be a Child of God and have obtained mercy… in order to offer mercy and a path into His Glory.
  2. Be Equipped… God’s desire is that all of His Children be filled with all the fullness of His Spirit (Eph. 5:15-21). Jesus said all we need to do is ask for the Holy Spirit, because it is the Father’s desire to give us the Kingdom (Lk. 12:31-32). Making a priority for the things of God will begin to establish your pathway into the Father’s heart. That is where the resources are found. You will need grace, intimacy and yieldedness in order for your life to display fruitfulness.
  3. Be Observant… You carry the Father’s Glory in that you carry the testimony of Christ. Christ is the Desire of the Nations (Hag. 2:7) and because He lives in you, you will become the desire of those around you in need of Him. “Arise and shine, your Light has come and the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you” – these words of Isaiah 60:1-3 speak of the Gentiles coming to your light and kings coming to the brightness of your “rising” or testimony. Its spoken of Christ and it is speaking to you, because “Christ in you is the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27).
  4. Be Prophetic… Speak to people what God is saying about them. Bless those that curse you and love those that speak evil of you because of your testimony in Christ. Recognize the real battle is in the spirit realm (Eph. 6:10-12), with forces that aim to confuse (2 Cor. 10:3-6) and works that aim to deceive (1 Jn. 3:8). You are God’s anointed voice to the principalities and powers in the spiritual realm, wherever God has given you influence. Speak boldly and speak often of the reality that God has made a way through Christ, back into the Father’s Glory (Eph. 3:10-11).

Notice: The Goal is the Glory!

Finally, I want to emphasize the spoken desire of God is to bring His Children back into the Glory. Adam was created for the Glory and lived in a Garden that was designed to allow him to be “formed” by his fellowship in Glory. He was visited daily by God who walked with him in the cool of the day in an atmosphere permeated by the Glory. And God’s greatest gift to mankind was to give His Only Begotten Son - Christ, in whom is the brightness of His Glory and the express image of His person (Heb 1:3). In Christ, God has opened up the pathway home and in you and I, He is making His purposes known in all the earth.

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

Receive the Holy Spirit

Can anyone receive the Holy Spirit?

If a person has repented of their sin and received Jesus Christ as Lord of their life, then they have what the Bible calls the seal or guarantee of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their hearts. This is most evident by the experience of inner promptings and the development of personal convictions. Growing in our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s voice is vital to our spiritual relationship with God. We must learn how to yield our affections to Him.

It is important to understand that the Holy Spirit is God… not an “It” or a “thing”. He, the Holy Spirit is the comforter that Jesus spoke of, who would lead us in all righteousness. In regards to our daily experience with God, we are able to continually fellowship with the Holy Spirit and enjoy the love offered by our Heavenly Father (Rom 5:5). God is a good Father and He works by the Holy Spirit to minister grace for all of our needs to be met (Mt 7:11). This is a wonderful promise of God, that equips us with a confidence in knowing that our sins are forgiven and we have become an “adopted” child of God.

Holy Spirit releases needed fruit into our lives like patience, peace and joy, so that even in the midst of very difficult circumstances we are able to find God’s help and wise counsel to make good decisions. The Bible even tells us that through the Holy Spirit’s counsel in our lives, we are able to have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). God wants us to enjoy the full benefits of a victorious, Christ-centered life and that is why He has told us to ask for the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13), to yield to the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14-16) and to never grieve or quench the Holy Spirit’s voice (Eph 4:30 & 1 Thess 5:19).

John the baptist made the declaration about Jesus before He had begun His ministry that He would “baptize” or immerse us in the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11), so that we would have power to become His witnesses on the Earth (Acts 1:4-8). The entire book of Acts is filled with stories of people having supernatural experiences with the Holy Spirit. Jesus did what John prophesied and poured out a gift that would turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).

Paul said “be filled… with the Holy Spirit” (Eph 5:18) and meant that we should continually be refueling our fullness in the Holy Spirit, like filling our gas tanks for the journey before us.

I often tell others that the Holy Spirit is inside of me for “me” (so I am continually growing), but He is upon me for “you” (so that I am enabled to release the power of God on your behalf). We truly are equipped with power from on high when the Holy Spirit comes upon our lives to anoint us to do the very works that Jesus did in His ministry (Jn 14:12-16).

The goal of Jesus was to destroy the works of the Devil (Lk 4:18-19)(1 Jn 3:8) and this becomes our mandate as well as He has asked us to follow Him and teach others to do the things He was doing (Mt 28:18-20).

The Holy Spirit is our source of life in God, both for our personal relationship and for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in the world. Receive Him… YES – and offer everyone the same opportunity! We owe the world an experience in the power and love that comes with living the Holy Spirit filled life.

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